Monday, October 23, 2006

Spain-Morocco undersea tunnel back on the agenda

Spain and Morocco have commissioned a new study on building a tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar -- which separates the two countries -- according to two experts quoted by El Pais newspaper.

Spanish public company SECEG and Moroccan counterpart SNED tasked a four-company consortium in September with drawing up plans for an undersea rail link between the two countries across the Strait.

Swiss specialist Giovanni Lombardi, the engineer behind the 17-kilometer (11-mile) Gothard Pass tunnel, told El Pais the blueprint being studied took as its basis a 1996 project which was later abandoned.

The mooted tunnel would be 38.7 kilometers long with 28 kilometers running some 400 meters (1,200 feet) under sea level.

It would not carry road traffic, only rail, owing to a perceived risk of accidents and ventilation difficulties, according to Lombardi.

The four companies involved in assessing the project -- Typsa of Spain, Morocco's Ingema, Geodata of Italy and Lombardi's eponymous engineering firm -- have a year to submit their plans under their SECEG-SNED remit.

Lombardi originally put the cost of the project at between 4 and 5 billion euros ($5.0-6.2 billion) 10 years ago, but he said that today inflation and compliance with new security norms would have to be taken into account for the new venture.

Angel Fernandez-Aller, engineer with Typsa, told El Pais a tunnel could be in operation by 2025, if both Madrid and Rabat showed sufficient political will.


Anonymous Maryam in Marrakesh said...

This is the first I have heard about this. Unbelievable!

11:14 AM, October 27, 2006  
Anonymous Morocco Property said...

Hello, a very interesting article.
Spain and Morocco are opening new economic relationships. Good.

1:27 PM, October 26, 2007  

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